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  • Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

    Ok so here is my dilemma. My PC is about 4 years old and it is time to upgrade. I can build a new one with no issue but my life has changed a lot over the last 4 years. I now have 2 kids, a demanding job that requires some travel, and we travel a lot anyway to visit family. Most of my time is spent in the den with my kids and wife. I spend almost no time ever in my office where my desktop PC is located.

    So, what I really feel I need between my traveling and being in the family room is a laptop PC.

    However I have real reservations that a laptop can deliver the performance I want to run the latest and greatest games... with BF3 firmly in mind. Looking at the Asus G73SW (once Sandy Bridge is fixed) which currently has a GTX 460m card. Any experience or suggestions? If I can not run smooth on high settings then I will just have to go with the desktop for the man cave and play when I can. Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Battlefield Samurai 'Banzaaaiii!!!

  • #2
    Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

    I recently went through this same decision making process. I'm a freshman in college and got myself a laptop for gaming, an ASUS G60Jx, and love it to death so far. I'm thinking of building a desktop this summer or next winter once I have the money available.

    Judging by your description of how you game at home and on the road a lot I'd say get the laptop. Granted, you won't get as much raw power as a desktop could deliver, but from my experience thus far it really won't be an issue. It'll be a little on the heavy side, what with all that heavy duty hardware crammed into a laptop, but it'll perform well. I've heard nothing but praise for the G70 series ASUS and the only problems I've had with my older generation ASUS have been software related.

    A couple things to consider, with the speed at which GPUs are being released by Nvidia and ATI, I would say hold off for just a little to see if either company releases a mobile version(s) of the GTX500 or HD6000 series cards. In which case ASUS will probably make a newer model with aforementioned mobile GPU. The GTX460M is still a really good card and you most likely won't have any problem with BF3. Also, if you go for a laptop, get a good cooler. If the 460M is anything like the 360M it'll probably run a little hot.

    For reference, my laptop is an ASUS G60Jx, Nvidia 360M 1Gb Overclocked, Intel Core i5 2.27GHz, 4Gb DDR3, Windows 7 64bit, and I have no problems running BC2 and Black Ops at Med/High settings.

    "Over the din of battle could be heard Lancerís maniacal laughter and it spurned us on to stay the course, not to give up, and enjoy." - Grimmfist

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    • #3
      Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

      I'm kind of in the same boat, but as I'm going off to college next year I'll need a laptop. I'm currently thinking of the Dell XPS 15/17 laptop. Has an optional i7 processor and GT445M graphics card. Seems like that would work well for Dx11 and new games.

      |TG-Irr|Icarus893
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      • #4
        Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

        Do you find yourself having the time to think about playing games while traveling?

        Can you put a desktop computer in the den?
        |TG-12th| Namebot

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        • #5
          Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

          I rarely used my laptop in college where I could not have just used my desktop, most campuses have computer labs to work with people anyways. Any time I played games on it there was a lot of overheating, which caused the stupid thing to restart. Granted I didn't have a 'gaming laptop' but it is something to keep in mind.
          Reapator, overlord of ponies

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          • #6
            Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

            Lancer I was really hoping somebody here was using a similar rig. I too have heard rumors of the GTX500m so I am cautious about jumping too fast on the 460. I wont be buying for a little bit longer so a better card is very possible. My big thing is just making sure I have a solid PC to play the games I want to play smoothly and on high settings.

            Namebot, I normally will have some time to play. I take my wife's laptop with me now and play some games with it on steam just fine but it sucks for FPS games. Also there is no room in the den for a desktop PC. The way I do it now is I have a lapdesk and use the laptop on that without issue That is about the only way I get on the PC these days when I am home.
            Battlefield Samurai 'Banzaaaiii!!!

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            • #7
              Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

              I'm sure that laptop will be able to play BF3, but I have my doubts that it will run the game well on high settings. Another thing to think about is that you can't really play a game properly on a laptop sitting on a couch, you would still need to have it set up on a desk where you have room for a mouse to be able to really enjoy the experience. At that point, you could put a small desktop PC there anyways so what would be the point of the laptop? Also, a 17 inch desktop replacement laptop is something that you might find yourself leaving behind when you're travelling.

              *Edit: just saw your post, forget what i said about a desk in the den
              "Looking for brahs to come fight crime with me" - Unload



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              • #8
                Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

                If you do decide on a laptop, make sure to find out whether it's got heating and throttling issues. A lot of gaming laptops with high end video cards have heat problems, which forces the hardware to throttle, making any games unplayable. One way to gauge whether a particular model has such problems is to survey some of the owner's forums.

                If you're willing to sacrifice some in game graphical settings, playing games on a laptop is no problem at all. Get one with a larger screen and you'll be happy.

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                • #9
                  Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

                  The Asus G73 models have supposedly awesome cooling. It is one of the things they are known for. That was one of my first concerns but everything I have read has been really positive about their cooling solution.
                  Battlefield Samurai 'Banzaaaiii!!!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

                    I would highly suggest the ASUS G73 line of laptops. Specifically, the current -A versions (it'll be around $1,800). It's well worth it and you'll be able to play BF3 on high settings most likely on the HD panel.
                    |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                    TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                    Former 9th & 13th

                    Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                    Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                    SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                    TG Primer and Rules

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                    • #11
                      Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

                      Here's the deal with a laptop: you're going to sacrifice for the convenience. Whatever you get as a laptop, you can get for half the cost as a desktop and it will be easily upgradeable. 98% of laptops are not upgradeable where you want it the most: in the graphics department. This is because they are so tight inside that the manufacturers have to make custom cards for each model. Once you pick a graphics card in a laptop, you're pretty much stuck with it. You can build an absolute monster desktop for $1700, or build a rig that will max most current games and still get a cheap little laptop. Or, you can get a "pretty good" laptop for $1700 as long as you know where to look. If you still want a laptop, read on.

                      Stay away from Alienware. You'll pay a couple hundred bucks extra for a laptop with a plastic alien head and LEDs that overheats and underclocks at the drop of a hat. Besides, Alienware doesn't actually manufacture their laptops. Neither do Dell, Apple, HP, Sony, etc. Laptops are designed and built by Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs). ODMs are companies primarily in Taiwan and China that most consumers have never heard of. Few ODMs are interested in marketing to consumers and operating huge, expensive consumer sales and support networks. They are in the business of engineering and building electronics, so that's where the resellers come in. When Dell wants to refresh a laptop line, they go to all of these ODMs with their desired specs and the ODMs bid on the contract. Lowest bidder wins. That means that all of these widely marketed computers are all manufactured by the lowest bidders.

                      Here's the full story.

                      (I know that link says Alienware rebrands and sells Clevos. It's a bit outdated; Alienware started out as a Clevo reseller way back and stopped when they were bought by Dell.)

                      I urge you to look at ASUS, Clevo, Compal, and MSI. These ODM companies actually design and manufacture the laptops you and all your friends have, and you don't even know it. ASUS is an exception in that they market some of their machines as their own. I found out my old Dell Inspiron 6000 was built by Compal after owning it for two years. The only way I knew is I found a tiny logo stamped into the plastic inside the case. It's all kind of a big secret that Dell etc doesn't want anybody to know, because they are just middle men with shiny blinky websites. The great thing about knowing how this all really works is that you can get a higher quality laptop pretty much direct from the actual manufacturer without paying extra for all of the marketing, and without having to call some poor sap who has been working a 42 hour shift in New Delhi for support.

                      Educate Yourself.

                      I travel a lot for work, so I need to portability of a notebook. I'm writing this from a two year old laptop manufactured by Clevo. It's called the M860TU. It's a 15" laptop with a Nvidia 9800GT, 4GB RAM, a Core 2 Duo, etc. that I bought for just over $2000 USD (remember, this was two years ago). Had I bought a similarly spec'd Alienware I would have paid somewhere on the order of $3500. Clevo's latest 15" model, the P150HM can be ordered with a GTX485m, an i7, and up to 16GB ram. They are also some of the few that have upgradable graphics cards (although they are not cheap). Clevos are rebranded by many companies, one of which is Sager. Sager calls this same laptop the NP8150. Again, this is sort of like how you can go out and buy a Mercury Mountaineer: it's really just a Ford Explorer with a different logo on it. The difference is that with Clevo you can actually get it cheaper from the reseller than from the manufacturer (this is to discourage individual consumers from ordering from Clevo directly, see above). If I have a problem, I call the company that I ordered it from, who is based in Nebraska, and their tech guys help me out. They don't read from a script, there is no waiting on hold, nothing like that. Or, I can PM the owner of the company on the forum I linked to above. It's amazing. Use that forum link above, it's the best notebook resource on the net. Read for a few weeks, ask a question or two once you have got it narrowed down, and then make your choice.
                      Last edited by A_Grounded_Pilot; 02-10-2011, 12:31 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

                        I have recently bought an MSI GX660R and LOVE it. I got the i5 model, 6gb of ram and a ATi 5870. Thing burns through every game I own on max, apart from BC2 where I turn shadows down a notch. But I love the thing. I ALSO have a desktop, i7 920, 6GB ram, GTX275 (my weak-spot) that does not run the games as good due to the card. At the minute I find it hard to justify having both. The desktop is rarely used, I could get rid of it tomorrow and I could just plus the laptop into the dual monitors and win. Best thing I can recommend is to do as grounded said and get educated on the laptop, and be prepared to drop a lot. Mine is highly upgradable, there is a large MSI modding community, and their worldwide warranty is not void if I open and tinker apparently, which I will at some point in the future.

                        Look around, read up and then have a stab. A Laptop with a desk and some peripherals and monitors plugged in IS a desktop............that can move very quickly!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

                          One of the things you should remember though, is that I wouldn't really expect to use the laptop anywhere away from an outlet. At least not for very long that is. That said, I don't think any but the scummiest hotels lack a desk with an outlet these days.

                          :

                          Originally posted by Reaperassault View Post
                          I rarely used my laptop in college where I could not have just used my desktop, most campuses have computer labs to work with people anyways.
                          I found it useful to have a relatively plain laptop for working wherever I wanted to. It always seemed like the main computer labs were overflowing so I was largely uninterested in doing anything but print there, which I still didn't care to do as it was $0.75/page.
                          Though, I find it easier to block out crowd noise than the type of noise that saturates computer labs. Bleagh.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

                            Plugging in is not a problem, it is needing the mobility. I certainly do appropriate all the comments. Planning to hold out as long as I can to try and get the best set up I can for the money. Will be another 2-3 years until I am getting another.
                            Battlefield Samurai 'Banzaaaiii!!!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Build a Desktop or get a laptop?

                              Just another little piece of info... I'm waiting at least another month or two before I do anything, as the new generation of SSDs are in the process of being rolled out. Corsair already has their C400's out, but they're still crazy expensive. Intel is supposed to announce their nextgen X25's this month, and the OCZ Vertex 3's should be out sometime in February or March. If nothing else, prices should drop somewhat. If that's something you're interested in, I'd let all three come out and see the market stabilize (prices come down) a bit before I dropped any cash.

                              What a lot of people are doing is using one SSD as a boot drive with windows and some of their bigger/more used programs installed on it, and getting a big, cheap conventional HDD for storage. Some laptops that don't have room for two internal drives are capable of using an optical drive caddy to hold a second drive. You lose the DVD/Blu-Ray, but you can get a USB Blu-ray/DVD/burner for the times you need it. Conversely, you could keep your tower for storage and remote desktop into it from your laptop.

                              BTW - once you have a laptop that games as well as your desktop, you'll never touch the desktop again.
                              Last edited by A_Grounded_Pilot; 02-11-2011, 09:21 AM.

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